Viruses

Deadly virus

July 4, 2017

It looks like HIV, the very deadly virus that has so far proven impossible to cure and very difficult to curb, might be very close to meeting its match. Previous attempts to treat HIV have always been challenging to say the least. Multiple experiments and studies have all failed, including the brand new and very sophisticated gene-editing procedure known as CRISPR. The difficult issue with the virus has been the fact that its composition makes it nearly impossible to hold down by our antibodies.

In fact, the body protects itself from viruses by sending antibodies to keep the virus down while white cells destroy it. These products of our immune system are numerous and various. Each different antibody is designed to fit a specific type of pathogen. The main problem with HIV lies in its shape as a 2009 study has shown. Our antibodies cannot physically wrap around the HIV virus due to their relatively low stretchiness. This makes all attempts by the body to quell the replication of the virus virtually pointless as it will always escape the grasp of our defense system.

However, a team of researchers at the American National Institute of Health may have possibly found one antibody that fits the HIV virus. Actually, this antibody that has been extracted from an Aids sufferer was found to lock down the virus more than 97 percent of the time. It was also shown to work on 80 percent of the known HIV strains that have resisted similar antibodies.

This discovery comes with great but limited promise. As this does not mean that it can be used as a cure. It can however replace the very impractical and toll-taking daily dose of antiretroviral drugs that HIV patients are required to take since a drug with this antibody would only require a bi-annual recall. Moreover, it is a possibility that human trials of the drug reveal a potential use of it as a vaccine which would mean a great deal for humanity’s battle against this persistent foe.